New York, NY -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/28/2014 -- A noted philanthropist, politician and business magnate, Michael Rubens Bloomberg’s glorious and successful mayoral term came to an end on December 31, 2013. Succeeding Rudy Giuliani to be the 108th Mayor of New York City and remaining in this post for three consecutive terms since his first election in 2001, Mayor Bloomberg was succeeded by the Democrat Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio.
As Mayor of New York, Bloomberg initially struggled to gain support and approval from the public; however, he subsequently developed and maintained high approval ratings because of the myriad pro-people programmes he adopted. During his first term Bloomberg wanted public education reforms to be his legacy. As part of the reform process, he replaced the school board set up by the state with direct mayoral control over public education. While he raised the salaries of teachers by fifteen percent, the test scores of students in the city and the graduation rate rose as well. During the period from 2002 through 2009, the fourth-grade reading scores rose nationally by 11 points according to the National Assessment of Educational Performance.
Being a socially liberal or progressive person, he showed his unwavering support on the issue of abortion rights, stating: "Reproductive choice is a fundamental human right and we can never take it for granted. On this issue, you're either with us or against us." Another controversial issue that he supported was same-sex marriage and opined that "government shouldn't tell you whom to marry.”
With the aim of tackling growing class divisions and poverty, he made public welfare policies his priority during his second term. Economically, he supported government involvement in matters such as public welfare and introduced many liberal policies. As the mayor he made serious health issues such as diabetes, HIV and hypertension his top priorities. He extended the city's smoking ban to all commercial establishments and implemented a ban on the use of trans fat in restaurants. He is also credited for introducing a programme called Opportunity NYC which was the country’s first-ever conditional cash transfer pilot program designed to help New Yorkers with financial aid in order to bring them out of poverty. He also started a $7.5 billion municipal affordable housing plan, the largest in the country – one that is going to provide 500,000 New Yorkers with housing. Being a proponent of large-scale development, he repeatedly supported projects such as the Atlantic Yards mega-development, the Hudson Yards redevelopment, and the Harlem rezoning proposal.
Calling himself a “fiscal conservative” he was successful in eliminating the existing $6 billion deficit when he assumed office and turned it into a $3 billion surplus. By raising property taxes and making cuts to city agencies he balanced the New York City budget. As part of the austerity measures, he also declined to receive a city salary and accepted a remuneration of $1 annually for his services. While choosing not to reside in the official mayoral residence, he often commuted to his office at City Hall by means of the New York City Subway. Being a staunch advocate of free trade he opposed protectionism and was concerned about the growth of China as the next superpower and the diminishing gap between the United States and the rest of the world.
On immigration issues and homeland security, he was of the belief that illegal immigrants should be offered legalisation and supported the congressional efforts of the late Ted Kennedy and John McCain in their immigration reform efforts in 2007. According to him, illegal immigration was not a strain on the financial resources of New York City, since many immigrants are hard working. As part of immigration reforms, he championed the cause of a federal ID database that made use of fingerprint and DNA technology to keep track of all citizens and to authenticate their legal status. As a result of the 9/11 tragedy and being a strong supporter of the USA PATRIOT Act, he set up the Counterterrorism Bureau when he assumed office. This newly formed division works along with the NYPD intelligence division to gather information about terrorist activities affecting New York.
Repeatedly denying rumours of 2008 and 2012 presidency bid and 2010 governorship, he firmly believed that “The most productive role that I can serve is to push them forward, by using the means at my disposal to promote a real and honest debate.” With vast wealth at his disposal, his Bloomberg Philanthropies foundation is carrying out philanthropic work in five key areas: public health, the arts, government innovation, the environment and education.
About Michael Bloomberg
Ranked as the 13th richest person in the world by Forbes Magazine, he began his business career at Salomon Brothers, a Wall Street investment bank where he was the general partner. Using the severance package, Bloomberg went on to set up a company called Innovative Market Systems which was renamed Bloomberg L.P. Over the years, subsidiary products including Bloomberg News, Bloomberg Message, and Bloomberg Tradebook were introduced. On January 1, 2002, he assumed the post of the Mayor of New York City and was replaced by Bill de Blasio as the new Mayor on January 1, 2014.
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